This book was originally published a year after I was born, so why has it taken over fifty years for me to read it!? It might be easy to dismiss this book as just ‘one of those kid’s books’, but it is a gem from both a reading and writing perspective. As a reader, lovable Grover—scared by the prospect that there is a monster at the end of the book—shares his vulnerability and courage in such an honest and cute way that we fall in love with him as the narrator of this journey. We are with him every fearful step as he tries all kinds of things to stop us from turning to the next page. He is trying so hard to protect us, and himself, from the ultimate truth, which we already know as the reader, but which Grover only discovers at the very end that he, himself, is the monster. How could he be so scared of himself? But isn’t this so true in life? It is fear that often holds us back from doing things, and not the actual thing itself that is so scary. The Monster at the End of This Book is a fantastic illustration of the adage by Douglas Horton— ‘Action cures fear, inaction creates terror,” or the alternate version by David J. Schwartz from The Magic of Thinking Big, “Action cures fear. Indecision, postponement, on the other hand, fuel fear”; a great lesson for kids and adults alike.
From a writer’s perspective, this is a near perfect book for trying to grasp the concept of pacing on the most basic level. Each page of the book makes you want to go to the next page to see what Grover does next, and when we get to the two last pages there is the appropriate feeling of reward when we share Grover’s revelation.
If you haven’t read this Little Golden Book, I highly recommend you do, and if you have, it may be time to pick it up again and relive how it made you feel when you originally read it.
Interested in purchasing a copy at a discount? You can find this book in my personally curated collection at the Caterpillars & Gypsy Moth Press bookstore here: The Monster at the End of this Book